As a recruiter, I’ve looked at plenty of job candidate profiles, conducted extensive amounts of recruitment research, and experienced firsthand some of the best (and worst) applicant interviews throughout every phase of the hiring process and at all levels of employment. From the way in which candidates appear on LinkedIn, to how they have handled the unfortunate news that they weren’t hired, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
Not only have I seen which candidates end up getting hired at a company, but also – and more importantly – I’ve seen how well they end up doing at the company and whether they succeed in their new positions.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, the job search can be tough. To make the process easier and increase the likelihood of getting hired, keep these tips in mind when you’re looking for your next career opportunity:
1. Know Why You Want the Job
Why do you want to become involved with this particular company? What is it about this position that makes you want to be hired? Often, people will dance around these questions during an interview. Providing the interviewer with generic responses to these questions only indicates that you really don’t know much about the company or the job.
Instead, you have to make your responses specific. Talk about your background and how that fits with the skills needed for this position. Address why you’re looking for a new job and what would make you happy in your new position. It could be your commitment to the industry, your passion for a certain aspect of the job, or the overall environment and corporate culture at the company. Whatever your reason may be for seeking this particular position with this organization, make it apparent. Vocalize what you can bring to the table, as well as what you are looking for in the next company you work for.
2. Don’t Believe Everything You Read
It’s easy to get caught up in online company reviews – like the kind you find on Glassdoor – where employees share their opinions and experiences. If you see a lot of negative reviews, don’t necessarily let that dissuade you from pursuing a role at a company. As is always the case, you can’t believe everything that you read online – especially on crowdsourced websites where anyone with an account can contribute.
To highlight this fact, consider how many people may exaggerate their current salaries when they’re interviewing at a new company. If applicants aren’t always honest with recruiters, there is a good chance they may not always be honest in online reviews.
In general, people tend to focus more on the bad than the good. Someone who enjoys their time with a company is far less likely to share their experiences in a positive review than someone who doesn’t enjoy their work at the same company. It’s important to keep this in mind as you’re doing your research.
3. Keep Track of Your Job Search
Keeping track of the places to which you have applied and the status of those applications is crucial. You want to stay organized. Make sure you’re monitoring what companies you’ve been applying to, the positions you’re pursuing, who you’ve been corresponding with, and who you have interviewed with.
Keeping track of your job search isn’t a good idea simply for your own sake. Recruiters often want to know about your overall job search. Depending on where else you’ve applied to and how many other companies you’re interviewing with, a lot can change. Accurate information about your job search allows the recruiter to better gauge both how competitive you are as a candidate and how quickly the organization has to move in order to hire you.
Similarly, some bigger organizations are known for having long interview processes. For example, if I hear that an applicant is applying at a company like Google, I know right away that they will be undergoing a longer interview than process than they would at a smaller company. This helps me figure out what kind of timeline I’m working on with this candidate.
4. Dress for Success
Never worry about being overdressed for an interview. Even if you’re interviewing at a company that you know for certain has a casual dress code, it’s never the right move to mirror the attire of current employees. Remember: you do not work at the company yet. You want to give the right impression that you’re a professional candidate and that you take the opportunity very seriously.
5. Keep Your LinkedIn Up-to-Date
Your LinkedIn is a digital version of your resume, available for all to see. For that very reason, it should always be up-to-date and complete. If you’re unhappy at your current job or looking for a change, an accurate LinkedIn profile can put you in front of the right hiring managers – even if you aren’t actively searching for a new role.
Often, recruiters extend their candidate searches beyond those who have manually applied. LinkedIn is an excellent recruitment tool, but if a potential hire doesn’t have an up-to-date or descriptive profile, we aren’t able to gauge whether or not they would be good for the job.
Fill your profile with descriptions of your current and past roles, your titles, and your job tenures. Make sure your profile picture is current and professional.
6. Regardless of the Situation, Always Be Polite
Being polite and professional can go a long way. If you hear from a recruiter that you weren’t a fit for the position, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Arguing with this contact via email about how they’re making a mistake won’t make you look very good.
Sometimes, you might not be a fit for the specific position, but you could potentially be a fit for another open position in the future. If you have a good experience with the recruitment team, they’ll keep your resume on file and consider you for upcoming job openings. If, on the other hand, your last interaction with the recruiter was a rude correspondence upon rejection, you’re not going to be brought in for another interview with that company.
No matter where you are in your career, these six tips will help you greatly boost the success of your job search. I encourage every candidate, from the entry-level to the upper corporate echelons, active or passive, to take heed of this advice.